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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Email Marketing Benchmarks

October 28, 2019

5 Min Read
Email Marketing Benchmark
Reading Time: 5 minutes

When it comes to monitoring the performance of email campaigns, you simply cannot ignore the importance of data. During the process, marketers analyze a wide range of metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, and of course, email marketing ROI.

In this post, I will walk you through the essential email marketing benchmarks for 2019. With these benchmarks, you have the proper baseline that you can use to evaluate and improve the performance of your email campaigns.

2019 Email Marketing Benchmarks

Here is a very brief overview of the most significant data points from Campaign Monitor’s recently published email marketing benchmark report.

Email Averages Across All Industries

  • Average open rate – 17.92%
  • Average click-through rate – 2.69%
  • Average click-to-open rate – 14.10%
  • Average bounce rate – 1.06%
  • Average unsubscribe rate – 0.17%

Top Industries (based on open rate)

  • Nonprofit – 20.39%
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – 20.13%
  • Government – 19.79%
  • Healthcare services – 19.12%
  • Other – 18.94%

Top Industries (based on click-through rate)

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – 3.66%
  • Real estate, design, and construction activities – 3.06%
  • Government – 3.04%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing – 3.02%
  • Education – 2.82%

Top Industries (based on click-to-open rates)

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – 18.03%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing – 17.15%
  • Real estate, design, and construction activities – 16.47%
  • Unknown – 15.52%
  • Government – 15.11%

Top Industries (based on lowest bounce rates)

  • Food and beverage – 0.64%
  • Consumer packaged goods – 0.67%
  • Retail – 0.69%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing – 0.86%
  • Travel, hospitality, and leisure – 0.93%

Ideal Days to Send Your Emails

  • The day with the highest open rate – Thursday
  • The day with the highest click-through rate – Tuesday
  • The day with the highest click-to-open rate -Saturday
  • The day with the lowest bounce rate – Monday
  • The day with the lowest unsubscribe rate – Monday or Sunday

Non-ideal Days to Send Your Emails

  • The day with the lowest open rate – Sunday
  • The day with the lowest click-through rate – Sunday
  • The day with the lowest click-to-open rate -Monday
  • The day with the highest bounce rate – Friday
  • The day with the highest unsubscribe rate – Wednesday

The Importance of Email Marketing Benchmarks

In an effort to improve email performance, most marketers undoubtedly review their email marketing metrics.

While analytics is an indispensable aspect of email marketing, it does have a drawback. When you review email-related metrics, you only see your own data. You have no other data set or baseline to compare your numbers and discover where you stand. This essentially gives you a limited view of your email marketing performance.

On the other hand, the benchmarks mentioned above provide industry-standard comparison points that provide a much more comprehensive view of your email campaign performance in the backdrop of general industry performance.

For example, the benchmark for the open rate is 20.39%. If you have a similar open rate, you can rest easy about this aspect of mail marketing campaigns. However, if the open rates are significantly lower than the benchmark, you know this is one area where you can improve.

How Email Marketing Benchmarks can Boost Email Performance

Now that you’re familiar with the importance of email marketing benchmarks, here’s how you can leverage the data for improving the overall email marketing health.

  • Open Rate

This metric is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened the email sent during an email campaign.

Current benchmarks indicate that the average open rate across various industries is 17.92%.

If you want to increase the campaign email open rate, the subject line is a great place to start. After all, the subject line is the first element of your email that subscribers see.

Many subscribers decide to open (or not) your email based on the subject line, so you have to make sure you make the best first impression.

To capture the attention of your subscribers, use incentivizing language that taps into the consumer’s fear of missing out (FOMO). Include phrases like for a limited time only, exclusive discounts on orders over XX$, and on sale today only.

You should also include your subscriber’s names in email subject lines. Data suggests even basic personalization tactics such as this can increase open rates by 26%.

  • Click-through Rate (CTR)

This metric is the percentage of subscribers who click on the link in your email. CTR is based on the total number of emails that you sent.

According to benchmarks, the current average for CTR across industries is 2.69%.

If you want to achieve higher than the average click-through rates, you need to strengthen your segments to ensure that you are sending the content/offer that is most relevant to each segment.

You can start with segmenting your subscribers by age, location, gender, and other demographic information. But you can also delve deeper into segmentation and take advantage of behavioral data like your subscribers’ purchase frequency or the type of emails they tend to open.

To entice click-throughs, you also have to improve your CTA design and copy. Make sure your CTAs pop by using contrasting colors and 3D effects. Avoid using the very generic copy in your CTAs and use benefit-focused copy instead (eg. Get This Helpful Ebook Today instead of Download Now)

  • Click-to-open Rate

This metric is the percentage of subscribers who opened your email and then clicked on a link within the email. Since the click-to-open rate takes into account subscribers who opened your email, it will be much higher than the click-through rate.

The current benchmark for click-to-open rates is 14.10%.

According to IBM, mobile email open rate accounts for about half of all email open rate. For improved click-to-open rates, it’s crucial that you optimize your emails to make sure that they render across all devices. In addition, the CTA button in your emails needs to be large enough to be usable across all screen sizes – but not so large that it fills the entire screen.

Another way to increase click-to-open rates is to send targeted offers to subscribers. Your offers should be relevant to each subscriber’s’ specific purchase behavior.

  • Bounce Rate

This metric is the percentage of emails that were not successfully delivered to the intended recipients.

Benchmark data indicates an average bounce rate of 1.06%

You can prevent high bounce rates by never purchasing lists from unscrupulous third parties as these lists often contain erroneous contact information. More importantly, though, purchasing lists is a clear violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Use the confirmed opt-in method to ensure that people who sign up to your list actually want to join your list. This way, only people who confirm their action of signing up will be added to your final list of subscribers.

Wrap Up

It is undeniable that email marketing is one of, if not, the most powerful digital channels available to marketers today. That being said, you can make email marketing even more effective by keeping yourself updated on the right kind of data.

By learning current email marketing benchmarks, you can compare your performance to industry standards and create strategies to not only improve your email marketing but also to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

For more information on benchmarks, feel free to check out Campaign Monitor’s Email Marketing Benchmarks 2019 report.

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Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at mustaasam.saleem@cloudways.com

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